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Foreign Football Players with Chinese Blood

Zhi Gin Lam, a German-Hong Kong player for the Bundesliga’s Hamburger SV, made his first appearance of the year for the side over the weekend. Many people may be wondering how many Chinese Diasporas footballers there are plying their trade around the world.

Historically, the Chinese have spread out around the world, in any decent sized city, be it in the United States or Azerbaijan, there will be a sizable Chinese population. Eventually, some of the Oversea Chinese’s children become footballers. Wild East Football’s Smari has researched this topic, compiled a list of foreign football players with Chinese blood, ranging from Asia to throughout Europe, some successful and potential stars, some chasing a dream that has probably passed them by.


1) Calvin Jong-a-Pin 

Chinese name: unknown

Age: 25

Nationality: Dutch

Current club: Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan League Division 1)

Position: Left-back

Calvin Jong-a-Pin is a Chinese descent where his family is from Suriname. He mentioned that he has a distant Chinese grandfather who arrived in Suriname five to six generations ago to operate a plantation business. Jong-a-Pin has represented the Netherlands U-21 team two times and the Netherlands Olympic team three times.


2) Cerezo Fung-a-Wing

Chinese name: unknown

Age: 27

Nationality: Dutch

Current club: IJsselmeervogels (Dutch Topklasse League)

Position: Defender

Cerezo was born in Suriname, and he is of Cantonese-Chinese descent, a background similar to Jong-a-Pin. He has not represented Suriname or the Netherlands in the international level.


3) Brian Ching 

Chinese name: unknown

Age: 33

Nationality: American

Current club: Houston Dynamo (Major League Soccer)

Position: Striker

Brian has a Chinese father and a Caucasian mother, and he has represented the United States National Team, scoring 11 goals in 45 caps. He participated in the 2006 World Cup and won the 2007 Gold Cup.


4) Xavier Chen 

Chinese name: 陳昌源

Age: 27

Nationalities: Belgian, Taiwanese

Club: K.V. Mechelen (Belgium Pro League)

Position: Right back

Xavier Chen was born to a Taiwanese father and a French mother. He captained the Belgium U-19 team and played 11 times. News rumoured that the Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) found Xavier’s identity through the Football Manager game. He was invited by the CTFA to play for the Chinese Taipei team. Xavier confirmed that the Chinese Football Association approached him too.  It was rumoured that Xavier was also eligible for Team China because one of his family members was born in China.

Even though Xavier mentioned that playing for the Belgium National Team was his priority, in 2011, he changed his mind and decided to play for Chinese Taipei National Team. Xavier eventually represented Chinese Taipei in the World Cup 2014 Qualifier match against Malaysia and scored a penalty on his debut.


5) Lam Zhi Gin (Andreas Lam) 

Chinese name: 林智健

Age: 20

Nationalities: Germany, Hong Kong S.A.R (it is unclear whether Lam has already possessed Hong Kong S.A.R citizenship)

Club: Hamburger SV (German Bundesliga)

Position: Attacking midfielder

Lam created a media sensation when he started on the Hamburger SV vs. VfB Stuttgart game. He played well and earned rave review from the media. Rodolfo Cardoso, the current caretaker for Hamburger SV, described Lam as “a very intelligent player [who] can play anywhere”.


6) Victor Chou

Chinese name: 周子軒

Age: 19

Nationalities: Spanish, Taiwanese

Current club: UD Salamanca Youth Side (other source has mentioned Albacete Balompie youth side)

Position: Defence

Victor was born in Madrid to Taiwanese parents. He rose through the rank of Atletico Madrid, Real Valladolid, and UD Salamanca. Same with Xavier Chen, Victor decided to represent the Chinese Taipei national team. However, he was on the bench during the World Cup qualifiers and did not play.



7) Andy Nägelein 

Chinese name: 聶凌峰

Age: 29

Nationalities: Germany, Hong Kong S.A.R

Club: Shenzhen Ruby (Chinese Super League)

Positions: Defence/Defensive midfielder

Nägelein was born in Hong Kong to a German father and a Hong Konger mother. He went back to Germany with his family when he was one. He played football in Germany and Cyprus and now plying his trade in Shenzhen Ruby. Nägelein’s has received invitation to play for the Hong Kong National Team. He joined the practice, but ultimately did not play any games for Hong Kong. In 2010, he recommended himself to the Chinese Football Association to play for Team China, but he was rejected without reason.


If you believe there are other players that should be included in this list, please comment below.


Ever since witnessing Yang Chen’s near goal opportunity in the game of China vs. Turkey in World Cup 2002 from his bed at 3am, Smari has developed an avid interest in following the Chinese national team. He had seen how the Chinese team was worshiped as gods during the World Cup 2002 and Asian Cup 2004, and how they are treated like shit since the failure to qualify for the World Cup 2006. Smari joined Wild East Football as a contributor because he realized there is a need for the world to know about Chinese football. There is an almost bare minimum amount of English language forums or websites that strictly talk about Chinese football, the Chinese Super League, the Chinese national team, etc. The world needs to know that Chinese football is not about Shaolin football, corruption, diving, and cheating; we are about playing with our heart to bring smiles to our already embarrassed fans. Smari hopes he would be able to witness the improvement of Chinese football and spend all his life savings to watch Guojiadui’s second World Cup appearance at whatever venue, even a warzone. Apart from writing/translating Chinese football news, Smari loves playing mahjang, imitating how Samri Nasri dribbles in the Emirates pitch, watching how Adam Johnson terrorizes his rivals, learning bar tending to make up his reason for consistent drunkenness, being artistically weird by shooting abstract photos, and defeating boringism in his mundane life. He also loves traveling, and he hopes to have his own apartment that is filled with national team jerseys from every country he visited. Smari often attributes his depression to the current dire state of Chinese football, let’s hope he won’t turn insane soon.



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